College Spark E-Newsletter

College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.

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Upcoming Events    

SOAR Conference
June 21, 2013

Green River Community College
Auburn, WA


SOAR's annual conference is a professional development & networking conference for all in King County who support children, youth & families - birth to young adulthood. This year, Putting the Pieces Together: Celebrating 10 Years of Building Effective Partnerships, will feature 8 keynote speakers, 24 workshops, numerous networking opportunities, and much more!



In the News

College Spark grantee, Academic Link Outreach (ALO), helps students succeed in this Edmonds Beacon article.   ALO has followed 48 students through Alderwood Middle School and into high school with a program called "PATH to College Success."


College Spark Trustee and national Principal of the Year, Trevor Greene, describes how Navigation 101 helps students at Toppenish High School plan for college and career in an op-ed for the Seattle Times.


Chio Flores, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Washington State University and College Spark Trustee, discusses the importance of filing FAFSA early in an op-ed to the Spokesman Review. 


Save the Date


NCAN Conference

September 16-18,  2013

Nashville, TN


Turn Up the Volume: College Success for All is an opportunity for you to join college access practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers to network with colleagues, participate in professional development workshops, and learn more about important issues in college access and success.  



September 29-October 1, 2013

Portland, OR


Join college access program staff, teachers, counselors, policy-makers, and community leaders at this year's conference,
 The College-Going Identity: Rethinking Readiness to celebrate student and program successes, learn about best practices, and collaborate with colleagues. 


School's Out Washington Bridge Conference

October 20-21, 2013

Seattle, WA


The Bridge From School to Afterschool and Back Conference focuses on cutting-edge research, resources and strategies relevant to strengthening the services that youth receive both in and out of school. Bridge brings together afterschool and youth development professionals, school leaders, funders, researchers, policymakers, trainers/coaches and business leaders from across the country.

 April 29, 2012
College Spark Washington announces nearly $1.4 million in community grants


College Spark Washington recently announced grants totaling nearly $1.4 million through its Community Grants Program focused on building the effectiveness of grantees that have demonstrated experience serving low-income studens and generating knowledge related to college-readiness and degree completion. 
All projects that receive Community Grants funding must measure their impact by using at least one of the outcomes below:
  • Increase the number of students who enroll in and pass 8th grade Algebra
  • Reduce the number of middle school students who trigger two or more of three early warning indicators: five or more absences during a single school semester, one or more course failures, a suspension, or expulsion
  • Reduce the number of students who require developmental education in college
  • Increase the number of students who
 "These 11 grantees represent the most promising college readiness and degree completion projects from nearly 60 applicants to the Community Grants Program," says Steve Pumphrey, Chair of the College Spark Washington Board of Trustees, "and we are delighted to partner with them to improve student success."   

Since 2005, College Spark Washington has granted more than $37 million throughout Washington state, with $12.5 million directed to the annual Community Grants Program.

pass their first college-level English or math course - either while in high school, after taking developmental education classes, or directly upon entering college
Navigation 101 delivers new curriculum: My Dreams, My Story, My Voice

Feel like the college readiness curriculum does a decent job with the nuts and bolts of college readiness but is lacking in addressing some of the underlying issues students experience on the path to a college degree?  My Dreams, My Stories, My Voice was designed to help schools increase a student's sense of self-advocacy as a predictor of student success. The 32 lessons/workshops intentionally create a safe environment for students in which they can explore why they need to go to college, "name" the unique challenges they face, and identify the assets they bring to the college exploration process.  This curriculum was developed as a supplement to the Navigation 101 curriculum but can be used stand-alone or in combination with other programs or curricula.    

College Readiness Initiative - NSCH data show promising trends
College Spark's College Readiness Initiative provides funding to school districts to implement AVID, Navigation 101, and dual credit courses; programs designed to help more students graduate from high school ready for college.  While college-direct (students who enrolled in college the fall after graduating from high school) enrollment rates for schools receiving an initiative grant remain largely unchanged there were a few promising trends when comparing the college-enrollment rates of 2009 and 2011 high school graduates.  More than half of the participating schools had an increase in the percentage of students who enrolled in college after taking a year off from education after high school graduation, and there were some big increases in the percentage of student who started at a four-year college as opposed to a two-year college. (Eighty-five percent of Navigation 101 schools and 50% of AVID schools had trends in this direction, and half of these were big increases - more than a 40% jump). 
MDRC research provides policy suggestions on development education and financial aid 
As part of their Looking Forward series, MDRC has developed several short briefs that offer evidence-based, concrete suggestions about how to overcome the barriers that stand between low-income students and a college degree.  Two strategies that are making a difference: combining developmental education with college-level courses rather than offering them separately and linking financial aid to academic performance.



College Spark announces new community leaders to Board of Trustees


College Spark Washington recently announced the election of three new trustees: Jesus Hernandez, Chief Executive Officer at MultiCare Health Clinic; Dr. Ed Taylor, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Affairs at the University of Washington; and Kris Lambright, Chief Financial Officer at YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish.


"We're excited to welcome community leaders in business, education, and finance to the Board. The experience they bring to the table, along with their deep commitment to student success, will be invaluable." said Christine McCabe, Executive Director for College Spark. 

New Advocacy Grants Program at College Spark supports Common Core Implementation

College Spark Washington adopted an Advocacy Grants Program to accelerate the adoption and implementation of policies and practices that ensure more low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees.


The Advocacy Grants Program supports the communication and engagement efforts by key organizations and coalitions to connect with policymakers, practitioners, and the public about the importance of, and best practices to achieve, college readiness and success.

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